Deb was born on December 25, 1957 to Howard & Leah Jones Mair - she was the oldest of four children. Being a Christmas baby, her arrival was a bit inconvenient for the doctor who had been celebrating the season.
Growing up Deb was active in all sports, she could always beat the boys in foot races, and acted as protector for her siblings to and from school where she was a proud teacher’s pet. Just days before getting her driver’s license, her spinal cord was injured during a tubing accident at a youth activity which changed the trajectory of her life.
Deb graduated as valedictorian of her high school class from South Summit High School in 1976. She then moved from her hometown of Kamas to attend the University of Utah where her only choice for living was in a nursing home. She graduated cum laude with her Bachelor of Science/Psychology, and went on to obtain her Master’s in Educational Psychology where her thesis was accepted on the first draft.
Deb shared her life with a couple of wonderful roommates who provided excellent attendant care for her. In 1984, the Mair/Hammond household was formed, this was an amazing start to a wonderful life sharing our joys and sorrows together. Our lives will never be the same without her.
In June of 1982 Deb was hired as a counselor at the brand-new Utah Independent Living Center. After only a few years she was appointed Executive Director. During this time, she met many unique characters - both consumers and staff. In addition to leading the still new center, Debra was quite active advocating for people with disabilities, serving on many local, state, and national boards and committees. She has been a leader in shaping Independent Living in Utah, while directing the Independent Living Center and offering her experience and support as subsequent centers were started. As the director, she raised the money for the new center and went on to oversee the building of the new skill center located at the Salt Lake UILC location.
She has marched for accessible transit in San Francisco, Denver, Washington DC, and here in Salt Lake City, stopping the buses of our friends at UTA and Greyhound. She has represented the needs and ambitions of people with disabilities by serving on the early Medicaid waiver committee for personal care, the state Medical Care Advisory Commission, UTA Board of Directors, early Americans with Disabilities Act implementation activities, Utah Council for Aging, the Wasatch Front Regional Council for Transportation and numerous service coordination committees. After over 40 years of service and leadership, Debra retired from the Utah Independent Living Center, ready for her next great adventure.
During her free time, Deb enjoyed reading books in the sunshine or in the mountains at a camping spot where she loved to smell the pine trees. She enjoyed hanging out with her family and playing cards or games, she enjoyed drawing, writing, traveling, she was always up for a new adventure but only if it was somewhere warm. She loved spending time with her great nieces and nephews.
Deb is preceded in death by her parents and brother-in-law Gilbert Hammond; she is survived by her siblings: Brother, Howard (Butch) Mair; Sisters: Brenda Wilson and Colleen Hammond; Nieces: Krishna Woodruff (kids: Annabelle and Greysen) and Susan Wilson Woodruff (kids: Taylor, Ashlynn, Mackenzie, and Lily); Nephew: Nick Hammond (Bree Fullerton) (kids Damian and Luna).
Services will be January 10, 2024, at Redwood Memorial located at 6500 South Redwood Road, West Jordan, Utah. A visitation will be from 10 to 11 with the service right after. Interment will be in the Francis 2nd Cemetery, Francis, Utah.